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Finishing up my quests in a few zones, after helping out the Shado-Pan keep some wall, I was plainly told that Pandaria had no standing army and that they, the Shado-Pan, were the first and last line of defense.
This struck me as incredibly stupid.
Between the Yaungol, Mantid, Saurok, Mogu, Sha and the everyday dangers of life, why isn't there some official force to counter them? With the Shado-Pan constantly claiming that they are few in number, why would they have only that single group concentrated on protecting the continent? How can there be any belief that those groups don't just run amok and conquer it when they have, at best, a loose militia to oppose them?
Speaking of the Shado-Pan, just how few is "few in number"?
They manage to cover almost the entirety of the Great Pandarian Wall, have a force large enough to keep the mantid out of Townlong AND yaungol out of Kun-Lai, have a fully staffed monastery (where we still kill a few students), and pretty much put troops wherever they want. This is not 'few' at all.
Because to become a shadopan, you must have the ability to control the emotions so natural in a war environment, like, fear, anger, violence, doubt, etc etc.
If every panda were to be part of the military, the sha problem would be much greater and much more frequent I imagine. It's preventative.
Hell, even then, it's by no means a fool-proof countermeasure, going off of the first quest chain in Townlong. (One of the Shado-Pan gives in to their hatred, and, it's heavily implied, went on to kill an entire village of yaungols and released the Sha of Hatred). And even their leader was corrupted by the Sha's influence, though he seems to have gotten over it.
As for the few in numbers bit? Bear in mind, sure, they might be several thousand strong. But, compared to the sheer numbers of their enemies, they might as well be just a few elite soldiers taking on entire armies. Hell, it's explicitly stated that they're stretched as thin as they can go (I.E. having scouts go for multiple days without shelter, sleep, etc.) without breaking.
Not to mention that the Mantid Swarm isn't an army. It's a bunch of newborns that the Mantid send off to "conquer" the Pandas then they retreat, when in reality it's so the Pandaren kill the weaker ones and they retain the stronger offspring.
While the common Pandaren is no warrior, they are by no means defenceless. As well, towns indeed have local guards whose job it is to defend the less capable villagers, though they are presumably not part of any imperial army and can do other, less violent things when nothing actively needs guarding.
The Mantid swarm happens on a schedule, so what little fighting force the Shado-Pan can muster can at least be stocked and ready for it in most cases. Early swarming, as has occurred here, is something unheard of.
Yaungol raids are usually relatively harmless, as they are on the other side of the wall, and have only recently broken through because the Shado-Pan are already occupied by the early Mantid swarm catching them off guard.
The Mogu have started popping up again in decent numbers only recently. This, evidently, is the time they chose to come out of hiding and make their power play.
The Sha, thanks to the Pandaren culture of positivity, has been reduced to isolated incidents, at least until the player factions arrive and add more fuel to their fire than they've probably had for millennia. I believe at one point Sha are described as a folk legend or somesuch because of their rarity.
The Saurok are disorganized and the small pockets of them are relatively easily dealt with by the local guards or a squad of Shado-Pan, at least when a squad can be spared.
Generally the Pandarian havent needed anything like a standing army. Most of the current woes they are having is due to invaders, or sha the invaders have stirred up. Even the Mantid are only a problem once in a very long time. No one is going to keep a standing army that only needs to fight once every hundred years.
Of the ones you mentioned:
Yaungoi are a problem cause they have been force from their home territories.
The Mantid swarming is happening early so the Pandarian werent prepared.
The Mogu activity is linked to the arrival of the Zandalari.
The Saurok arent organised enough to require an army to deal with.
And finally, the Sha are only a problem if people are shaking the boat such as having large distructive fights.
You have to understand that Pandaria is usually a lot more peaceful then what players see.
The Mantid swarms are normally extremely predicable, giving the Pandaren's more then enough time to put together a large defense force when it's needed, and disband said force once it isn't. However the Mantid swarm we see in game arrived much sooner then expected thanks to the influence of the Sha of Fear, and the Pandaren were caught off-guard.
The Mogu have only recently begun an offensive against the Pandaren. Ever since their empire was destroyed in a massive slave revolt, the Mogu have existed as scattered clans who were not considered a serious threat. It has only been with the mists falling and the arrival of their ancient Zandalari allies that the Mogu have become problematic.
The Yaungol, while a very violent people, to my knowledge have never attempted to assault the Serpent's Spine. They only launched an invasion of Kun-Lai out of desperation when the Sha-corrupted Mantid started overwhelming their defenses.
The Saurok are extremely disorganized and can be more then handled by local guards most of the time. I imagine even they've become a lot more bold recently due to all the other chaos that's cropped up on Pandaria recently.
As for the Sha, it's incredibly rare for them to manifest like we've seen. While Sha outbreaks aren't totally unheard of, when the Horde and Alliance brought all their anger and hate for each other to Pandaria, things got turned up to eleven and suddenly we have Sha all over the place.
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